Several members of the team spent Sunday June 3rd at one of New York City's most unique race venues: Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.
On the shores of Jamaica Bay with planes departing from JFK overhead, Team Sixcycle-RK&O participated in numerous races throughout the day scoring two top ten finishes and helping raise money for Star Track Youth Cycling and Mentorship in the process.
This is the story of the CRCA FBF Classic, Kids Race and Big Wheels Championship presented by Lucarelli and Castaldi. For two full albums with more than 400 pictures from the race head over to the team's Facebook page.
FBF Classic Cat 3 Race Report from Dan Cleiman
I woke up at 6AM in preparation for the CRCA FBF Classic race. The CAT 3 field was scheduled to go off at 8:30AM leaving me plenty of time to snooze once or twice… Sweet! I had planned on driving to Floyd Bennett Field in order to have fresh legs for the race and factored about 30 minutes for the commute. Unfortunately, the Brooklyn Bridge was semi-closed for repairs and I had to detour, which meant that I arrived at registration with only 40 minutes or so to spare. Still, plenty of time to pin my number (which I had to do twice after pinning it on the wrong side the first time around…) and do a warm-up lap.
According to bikereg, the race was pre-reg only. But after a significant amount of last minute interest, the race organizers decided to allow same-day registration, which meant that Vandivort, Bryan, and myself would be racing in a field of 60+ riders, including good representation from teams such as Kissena and BH.
My objective for the day was simple: to stay at the front, work hard, go with any break attempts, and make the team's presence known. I was feeling good and jumped on several breaks and even attempted some of my own. As always, there were counter-attacks and I was happy to see either Vandivort or Bryan active in those.
With 10 laps to go, I hit a massive pothole and flatted my front wheel. JJ from Asphalt Green was behind me and based on the size of said pothole was surprised to see me standing! I rolled slowly to the start / finish line and asked my teammate Charlie Bird for a spare wheel. Unfortunately all the wheels that we had put in the pit had carbon rims, which weren’t going to work with my brake pads. Damn! I was upset and about to give up when Liz Marcello from Radical Media saved the day by offering me her front wheel. She did, however, warn me: “you hit another pothole, you pay for the truing!”. Deal! I was still in neutral lap territory and would be allowed to roll-in to the back of the field.
As the field passed, I noticed that a strong 3-man break had formed and that Vandivort was trying to close the gap. I hopped back on and made my way to the front. A Kissena rider jumped to try to bridge to the 3 riders. In a split second decision I yelled at Vandivort to get on my wheel. I was tired, but wanted to bridge him to the break, or at least to the Kissena rider’s wheel. I gave all I had for 30 seconds, but ran out of steam, leaving the two of us stranded between the break and the field… Ops! Fortunately Vandivort had another match to burn and bridged to the chase rider. I fell back into the field which eventually reeled back the break.
With two laps to go, my back wheel started feeling soft… And eventually went flat (still from hitting that pothole). This time there was no getting back into the race. Bad luck. So I watched from the sideline as Bryan and Vandivort positioned themselves for the final lap. Both were well positioned, but the field got bunched up and the two Sixcycle-RK&O riders left in the race were blocked off and couldn’t setup a leadout. Still, Vandivort managed to pull off a fantastic 5th place after a monster sprint from the last turn all the way to the finish line!
Another great race and another good result for the team!
FBF Classic Cat 4 Race Report from Charlie Bird
Today's race really starts with what happened yesterday. Yesterday was one of the worst days I've ever had on a bike and due to that I was extremely apprehensive going into a windy circuit race with only 24 hours get my legs and mind right. I got a good 10-15 min warm up in and felt better than yesterday but I needed to keep telling myself that can all change very quickly once the race is on. The plan for the day was one of protection and survival. Stay in good position. Stay of the wind and let other people shut down moves.
Well that lasted until the 2nd lap when there was a crash right in front of me. I swerved around it and looked up and saw a gap between me and 8-12 guys up the road heading into a crosswind section. I knew this was a bad situation and I just drilled it. There was no time to be conservative and wait around for a wheel to take me back to the race. I got back on quickly and recovered very quickly.
This effort is when I knew today was going to be different from Saturday, so I started to formulate a plan. I still wasn't feeling confident in my sprint kick but I thought I had a decent effort in my legs if I used it at the right time. The section before the final corner was exposed to a hard right to left wind. I was floating up the field as long as I was on the left side, so I decided that I would try to get near the front of the field on the left and use the shelter to attack before the final turn and try to stick it.
The rest of the race was uneventful until with a little less than 3 to go a move goes up the road with 4 members of one team. I couldn't let that one get much room, so I chased it. The second I chased it down we had about 1.75 laps to go someone countered. Another rider I know bridged and I went with him. We bridged up with one pull each and then another rider joined us.
We had a seemingly big gap and I was all in. This was the move that was going to win or lose it for me. We traded a few pulls and tried to keep the speed high. Unfortunately, we slowed a little and one of the larger teams was patrolling the front for their sprinter who ended up winning the race. They brought us in just before one to go. I tried to get back in and quickly recover to try and have a go at the original plan for a sprint kick but I got a bit too far back in the field to really try anything in the final.
FBF Classic Big Wheels Championship Race Report from Matthew Vandivort
This was it. The big event. I had managed a 5th place showing in the Men's Cat 3 field sprint, I had survived all of three laps of the P/1/2/3 race before my legs waved the white flag and I pulled a DNF, but this was the race at the FBF Classic that really mattered: the Big Wheels Championship. Yes it was for a good cause (to raise money for the Star Track Youth Cycling and Mentorship program) but what really mattered was the prize: bragging rights and a WWE Championship belt (something like this).
The pressure was definitely on as the field was stacked including Greg Olsen from Champion-Systems and good representation from Asphalt Green, Siggi's and Foundation. With Team Sixcycle-RK&O's Charlie Bird serving as MC the competition in the first round was fierce and among other battles Siggi's Josh Sakofsky was eliminated by Foundation's Ron Ferraz while I survived a match-up against Asphalt Green's Paul Santini. However from the get go there was a clear favorite in late race entry Parker Chea of Star Track Youth Cycling (Age: 12), who nearly lapped Asphalt Green's Paul Weiss (note: this is on a one lap course).
In the end I survived through the semi-finals where I faced off against Ron Ferraz, winner of the Men's Cat 4 race. It was a close race as we were neck to neck through the turn. However when I hit the gas to accelerate things turn sour as the handle bars for my Big Wheel ripped clean off - sending me flying off the back of the bike onto the pavement while my riderless trike accelerated and crossed the finish line (beating Ron across the line).
My unfortunate crash, followed by Parker Chea dispatching Greg Olsen in the other semi-final, setup a heated match-up between the 11-year-old Star Track Youth Cycling and Mentorship rider and Foundation's Ron Ferraz.
When Parker spun out around the turnaround point it looked like all was lost for the crowd favorite but a blistering pace on the back stretch gave him the win and the Championship belt.
In the end the Big Wheels Championship raised over $500 for Star Track Youth Cycling and Mentorship and was a great time for all of the spectators who stuck around to watch the races. Team Sixcycle-RK&O was honored to have played a role in the event and look forward to competing in the race next year.
FBF Classic Cat 3 Finish Video
FBF Classic Pictures
Matthew Vandivort is a New York City based cyclist and sometimes photographer who was also a founding member of To Be Determined. You can follow him online at @photorhetoric or http://photo-rhetoric.com/